Red Dirt Marijuana & Other Tastes
By James Calemine
Born in Alvarado, Texas, in 1924, Terry Southern earned two Academy Award nominations for screenplays Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider. Other Terry Southern screenplays include The Loved One, The Cincinnati Kid, Barbarella and un-credited re-write jobs on Casino Royale and The Collector.
As a novelist, Southern's books include Flash & Filigree, Candy, Blue Movie, The Magic Christian, Virgin, and Texas Summer. Red Dirt Marijuana ranks as Southern's greatest book. A collection of 23 stories, published in 1967, Red Dirt Marijuana contains a wide range of topics and dramatic tales. The story "Red Dirt Marijuana" takes place in Texas where a young boy accompanies the family assistant--a black man--out to an area where a crop of reefer is being grown.
"Razor Fight" tells the story of two brothers diffusing a disagreement with knives. "Twirling At Ole Miss" finds Southern highlighting Faulkner's old hometown with a twist of acerbic humor. "I Am Hammer" documents the literary style of Mickey Spillane. "The Blood of A Wig" proves as a hilarious story about those who use the blood of a schizophrenic for medicinal purposes.
Terry Southern's Texas upbringing gave him a southern-based childhood, but his literary skills transcended all geographic boundaries in film, literature, music and comedy. Southern kept time with legendary artists such as William Burroughs, George Plimpton, Mason Hoffenberg, Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers, the Rolling Stones, The Beatles (Southern appears on the cover of Sgt. Peppers wearing sunglasses between Edgar Poe and Dion), and the Black Crowes.
Terry Southern died of a heart attack in 1995. Red Dirt Marijuana proves a must read for those who want to connect all the artistic dots in American culture for the last 50 years.